Should believers dialogue with apostates and heretics?

To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. For,

“The one who desires life, to love and see good days,
Must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.
“He must turn away from evil and do good;
He must seek peace and pursue it.
“For the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous,
And His ears attend to their prayer,
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

1 Peter 3:8–12, NASB

This era of the Church is one of extreme deception due to compromise with the standards and focus of the world. Separation between the Church and the world is not being kept. Instead, the holy barrier between the two has been breached as false prophets have welcomed in not only the world and its ways into their churches, but have also embraced the world and it ways including mysticism of the Eastern religions. Syncretism is the new byword of the Emergent Village for instance.

On the other hand, God is good. He keeps His promises. The Lord told Peter that He is the one building His Church and no evil will ever be able to destroy it (Matthew 16:18). If this is true, and it is because our Lord spoke it, then how do we reconcile the rapid apostasy of so much of the visible Church with what He said?

God always keeps a remnant during times of rampant apostasy. These Christians are the small group whom God has reserved who have not bowed the knee to Baal. These are also the ones in whom God is developing Christlikeness and through the fires of persecution by those in the visible Church who have succumbed to the heresies and ungodliness going on in it, He is teaching them how to stand firm and never compromise with evil. In this they learn the difference between debate and dialogue and know that the former actually clarifies the truth and why they hold to it while the latter is only a conversation which has the intent of compromising the truth.

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Genuine Christians are dead to sin while being alive to God

But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).” But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. Romans 10:6–10, NASB

Easter is approaching as I write this. It’s still over a month away, but it seems like we are already in some sort of “Easter season.” Of all the markers we celebrate as Christians, Easter was the one I had the hardest time understanding when I was a small child. It seemed so wrapped up in chocolate bunnies and Easter baskets, Easter egg hunts, dressing up in new clothes for church, et cetera. My mother tried to help me see the Biblical connection with our Lord’s Resurrection, but I failed to make sense of it until I was older. I saw it as a teen and young adult, but did not really  “get it” until God had mercy on me, a sinner, and resurrected me unto new life as a Christian.

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Rob Bell: we’re moments away from the church embracing gay marriage

Former Mars Hill Bible Church pastor and Emergent leader Rob Bell is a controversial figure. Recently, Bell was invited by Oprah Winfrey to host The Rob Bell Show on her OWN channel. Bell denies the existence of hell, promotes “Mother God,” and insists that homosexuality is not a sin, thus our “homosexual brothers and sisters” must be accepted by the Church. Therefore, it is no surprise that he is reportedly thrilled by the idea that same-sex ‘marriage’ may soon become legal in America. Amy Spreeman, co-host of Stand Up For The Truth, offers Christians this advice:

When it comes to heretical teachers like Bell, we are NOT to “eat the meat and spit out the bones (advice found nowhere in Scripture), but instead we are to follow the command to mark and avoid false teachers.

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Court rules ‘God bless America’ not unconstitutional

Christian Headlines reports:

The Florida high school that told a student not to say “God bless America” during morning announcements said this week that the student did not violate the U.S. Constitution.

“Upon consultation with legal counsel and review of legal advisories, the Nassau County School District has taken the position that a student’s use of the phrase “God Bless America” during the morning announcements at Yulee High School does not violate the Constitution of the United States,” the school district said in a statement.

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Buying a bestseller

In 2014 WORLD Magazine revealed that Seattle’s Mars Hill Church paid a California-based marketing company somewhere around $250,000 to ensure that a book by its pastor Mark Driscoll and coauthored with his wife, Grace made the New York Times best-seller list. Some say the practice is “dishonoring to the Lord.” The magazine now reports that popular pastor and author David Jeremiah’s ministry, Turning Point, purchased copies of at least three of Jeremiah’s books to ensure that they would make the New York Times bestseller list. Last year WORLD asked Jeremiah about his book marketing practices, to which he replied: “You can’t just write a book and say I’m not going to have anything to do with marketing. If you don’t care enough about it to try and figure out how to get it in the hands of other people, nobody else is going to either.” In the acknowledgments section of his 2012 book God Loves You, Jeremiah even credits the man who got Driscoll in so much trouble – the president of Result Source, Kevin Small – as the “genius behind the plan.”

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Sanctification and our flesh

For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:20–23, NASB

If you read or listen to the “testimonies” of the “new evangelists” or the emergents, or even those in the conservative denominations like the Southern Baptist Denomination who are working very hard to transform themselves into something they perceive as more culturally relevant, you will discover that they, across the board, arrived at their theology as they became “refugees” from some form of pietism or American Evangelicalism that leaned heavily towards semi-pelagianism and/or legalism. That mix, in whatever proportions, is intellectually veneer-thin. When the leadership within those groups move at all away from being centered on God’s Word and His grace then all that is left is the legalism that only leads those in unbelief to despair for, without the preaching of the Good News according to the Free Grace of God, all that is left is simply manmade religiosity. These “refugees” now look at all whom they view as dogmatic in any way about their theology as simply “fundamentalist”, even though there is a vast difference between what we preach and teach and that from which they fled. Of course, these “refugees” are mired in unbelief, no matter how “religious” they appear.

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Should Christians ever be at peace with their flesh?

“For from the least of them even to the greatest of them,
Everyone is greedy for gain,
And from the prophet even to the priest
Everyone deals falsely.
“They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially,
Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’
But there is no peace.
“Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done?
They were not even ashamed at all;
They did not even know how to blush.
Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;
At the time that I punish them,
They shall be cast down,” says the Lord. Jeremiah 6:13–15, NASB

Some may read my last few posts and believe that I and all who agree with the theology taught in those posts are antinomians. However, that is a case of missing the point. The doctrine of salvation by grace alone through faith alone is Biblical. Works-righteousness only leads to self-righteousness and never to peace and joy that is found by the regenerate who know their salvation is bound up in the righteousness of another, the Lord Jesus Christ, not their own. Those who despise the doctrine of imputation say that it leads to antinomianism. I present this post in answer to that.

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Salvation by grace alone through faith alone excludes works righteousness

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance; and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father’; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Matthew 3:7–12, NASB

In the passage above John the Baptist was addressing a form of spiritual blindness that was afflicting the Pharisees and Sadducees. Is there the same sort of stubborn blindness pertaining to Christianity? Yes, sadly there is. Spiritual blindness is a darkness beyond our ability to describe. This blindness is rampant in the “visible Church” in our day. Jesus prophesied about this.

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Netanyahu urges Jews to move to Israel after Copenhagen attacks

Yahoo News reports:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday urged European Jews to move to Israel after a Jewish man was killed in an attack outside Copenhagen’s main synagogue.

“Israel is your home. We are preparing and calling for the absorption of mass immigration from Europe,” Netanyahu said in a statement, repeating a similar call after attacks by jihadists in Paris last month when four Jews were among the dead.

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What is Coptic Christianity, and what do Coptic Christians believe?

Over the weekend, a video surfaced showing Islamic terrorists beheading 21 Coptic Christians for no other reason than for their religious beliefs. There are anywhere from 10 million to 60 million Coptic Christians worldwide. What do Coptics believe? According to Christian apologetics site GotQuestions.org, Coptic Christianity is similar to Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy in that it emphasizes faith-plus-works in salvation as well as liturgical ritual.

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New Testament grace is coupled with the person and work of Jesus Christ

For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. John 1:17 NASB

ὅτι ὁ νόμος διὰ Μωϋσέως ἐδόθη, ἡ χάρις καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐγένετο. John 1:17, NA28

Without a doubt the “visible church” in our time is in a great deal of confusion. Why? It is because there are scores of so-called “Christian leaders” who have compromised the truth in order to make their ministries more acceptable to the world.

As our Lord stood before Pilate and said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”

Pilate said what to our Lord? He said, “So you are a king?”

Our Lord replied, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

What was Pilate’s answer? He said, “What is truth?”

What is it that our Lord is teaching us here is that we must learn and appropriate and apply to our lives? God’s truth is not editable. It is not modeling clay. It is not something that changes as times and seasons and culture changes. Grace is our theology.

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Shirley MacLaine asks whether Holocaust victims were paying for sins in past lives

The Daily Mail reports that New Age guru Shirley MacLaine “has provoked widespread fury by claiming the victims of the Holocaust may have brought their fate upon themselves.” Moreover, she insinuates that the “six million Jews and millions of others systematically murdered in Hitler’s death camps in the 1940s were ‘balancing their karma’ for crimes committed in past lives.” The Hollywood star also offered this bizarre speculation:

‘What if most Holocaust victims were balancing their karma from ages before, when they were Roman soldiers putting Christians to death, the Crusaders who murdered millions in the name of Christianity, soldiers with Hannibal, or those who stormed across the Near East with Alexander? The energy of killing is endless and will be experienced by the killer and the killee.’

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Christians and conspiracy theories

The Sola Sisters have compiled several articles on the topic of Christians and Conspiracy Theories. These articles were written to biblically address the reality of conspiracy theory websites that Christians are sometimes drawn to, but which we feel are unbiblical and cause Christians to become unbalanced and unsteady in their walks.

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Justice Thomas objects to court’s signal on gay “marriage”

According to My Way:

The Supreme Court is inappropriately signaling it intends to clear the way for gay marriage across the nation, Justice Clarence Thomas complained Monday in a stinging dissent to the court’s refusal to block the start of same-sex marriages in Alabama.

Bitterly objecting to Monday’s action, Thomas provided a rare insider’s perspective on the widely held view that the court’s embrace of gay marriage is a done deal.

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Audience dons devil horns at Grammys for performance of “Highway to Hell”

According to Christian News Network:

Much of the audience attending the Grammy Awards on Sunday donned light-up devil horns for the opening performance of the annual event—a presentation of the AC/DC hit “Highway to Hell.”

“Party time/My friends are gonna be there too/I’m on the highway to Hell,” the Australian rock band blared out as flames blazed on the jumbotron behind them, along with pyrotechnic effects. “Hey Satan/Payin’ my dues … I’m on the highway to Hell/Don’t stop me.”

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Katy Perry claims God spoke to her before Super Bowl performance

Former gospel singer Katy Perry has made it clear that she is not a Christian. She once declared, “I’m not Buddhist, I’m not Hindu, I’m not Christian, but I still feel like I have a deep connection with God.” The “higher power” she says she believes in allegedly spoke to her before her Super Bowl performance. According to Christian Headlines:

She told E! News’ Ryan Seacrest, “It’s funny, I was praying and I got a word from God and He says, ‘You got this and I got you.’ And then I was on top of the lion and a guy, a random guy, just looked on me with a headset that I’ve never communicated with before and he just looked me straight in the eyes and said, ‘You got this.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, this is God confirming I can do this.”

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Rick Warren: Protestants, Catholics must unite to defend life, sex, marriage – ‘we’re on the same team’

Rick Warren is on a mission to unite with the apostate Church of Rome in an effort to solve society’s social ills. As usual, Warren downplays the wide divide between Rome and biblical Christianity. CNS News writes:

Evangelical pastor Rick Warren, who leads the eighth largest church in America, Saddleback Church, and is the author of the hugely popular book The Purpose Driven Life, said that Protestants and Catholics must form a “unity of missions” to defend the sanctity of life, sex, and the family, stressing that, “If you love Jesus, we’re on the same team.”

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NASCAR legend declares to Obama, Dalai Lama at Prayer Breakfast: without Christ, you will go to hell

Christian Research Network reports:

During Thursday’s National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, NASCAR great Darrell Waltrip shared his Christian testimony with the thousands gathered, including Barack and Michelle Obama and the Dalai Lama, stating that he thought he was once a pretty good person, but “good people” go to Hell without Christ.

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Obama says Christians as guilty as Muslims: ‘People committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ’

Christian News Network reports:

During the National Prayer Breakfast held in Washington on Thursday, Barack Obama spoke against violence committed in the name of religion, and stated that Christians have been just as guilty as Muslims and other terror groups of this crime.

“It’s not unique to one group or one religion,” he said. “There is a tendency in us—a sinful tendency—that can pervert and distort our faith.”

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‘I’m now an atheist’: Newsboys co-founder renounces Christianity

According to Christian News Network:

In an article published by the faith site Patheos on Wednesday, one of the original co-founders of the popular Christian band Newsboys revealed that he has since renounced Christianity and now identifies as an atheist.

“I always felt uncomfortable with the strict rules imposed by Christianity,” George Perdikis, who co-founded the group in 1985, wrote in the guest post. “All I wanted to do was create and play rock and roll … and yet most of the attention I received was focused on how well I maintained the impossible standards of religion. I wanted my life to be measured by my music, not by my ability to resist temptation.”

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Pampers releases new ad celebrating babies – born and preborn

Live Action News reports that Pampers released a new ad in January entitled A Newborn Journey of Firsts:

Pampers has been known in the past for its beautiful, visually stirring ads that broadcast a pro-life message. A previous ad called babies miracles who “deserve protection” and referred to a baby on an ultrasound screen as a “he” instead of an “it.”

This time, Pampers’s ad — which has already received over 860,000 views on YouTube — opens as a mother lovingly caresses her pregnant belly. The scene switches to an incredible ultrasound where a baby is moving in the womb and, as Pampers puts it, is giving her “first hello.”

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